2020 Oregon Wage Data

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by Jason Payton, Occupational Economist
Oregon Employment Department

How do we know the worth of our work? How do we know we are paying employees a competitive wage? The only way to know is to get a snapshot of what other workers are getting paid for doing similar work. If you don’t know where to start, the Oregon Employment Department is here to help.

The 2020 version of the Oregon Employment Department’s Occupational Wage Information is now available. Thanks to survey responses from employers around the state, wage scales for nearly 740 occupations have been published.

The annual average wage for all occupations in Oregon was $55,349 in 2020, or $26.61 per hour. Of the occupations with published data lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers had the lowest average wage of $12.91 per hour. One of the reasons for the low pay in these jobs is the workforce performing this type of work skews significantly younger than other occupations. Anesthesiologists had the highest average wage ($139.62 per hour). Medical specialties like anesthesiology take many years of education and experience in order to perform that level of work.

Looking at average wages is like looking at a black and white photograph of a flower garden. You can get an idea of what you are looking at, but you are missing the contrasts and dynamics you get if the picture was in color. We need to look at the wage ranges of different occupations to get a fully defined picture of pay in the workforce.

Wage ranges give us a better idea of what we could expect if we were to hire, or work in a particular occupation. We provide wages ranges by publishing a series of percentiles for each occupation. A percentile wage shows the percentage of workers in an occupation that earn less than a given wage and the percentage that earn more. In most cases, wages in the 10th or 25th percentile likely reflect workers just entering a career, or who have less education attainment than others performing similar work.

To better frame these insights, let’s look at the wage ranges for sales occupations in Oregon. Most sales occupations in Oregon pay between $12.23 and $38.11 per hour. More than half of all sales occupations in Oregon are either cashiers or retail sales workers. These occupations pay typically on the lower end of the wage range, and may have lower education and experience requirements than other sales occupations. For instance, securities, commodities, and financial services sales positions are some of the highest paying sales positions in Oregon. These positions usually require attaining a number of licenses to perform the work, and a higher level of education to do so.

Oregon Wage Information provides us a better understanding of the differences in pay found across the state. The average wage in Northwest Oregon was $24.32 per hour, about 9 percent less than the statewide average. But that doesn’t mean that all jobs along the North Coast pay less than the statewide average.

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